Labour blames fewer police officials for increase in road accidents

Labour blames fewer police officials for increase in road accidents

The Labour has blamed few police officials on the roads due to funding cuts as a result for increase in the number of road accidents.

Eleven people died on the roads between Friday evening and Tuesday morning making it the highest Queen's Birthday weekend road toll since 1989. Napier MP Stuart Nash, Labour police spokesperson pointed out that the government has slashed road safety funding in the previous two years.

Nash said, "In the past two years there has been a cut in road safety funding. Between 2013 and 2015 the road toll has increased by 68, making us one of the only countries where road deaths are rising. Funding pressures from the Budget have forced police to remove 100 police officers from road patrols. That will lead to more deaths on the road. It's that simple."

The police had said in April that it had a funding shortfall of $26 million and Police Minister Judith Collins has said at that time that it would mean that there will be fewer police officials for road policing. Transport Minister Simon Bridges did not allow NZTA to provide more money stating that the current level of funding was sufficient. NZTA had said that it would expected to see a "more moderate achievement" of road policing outcomes in the face of lower funding.

Mr Nash also warned in April the shortfall would make the roads more dangerous. Data showed that the road toll dropped to 253 in 2013 then increasing to 294 in 2014 and 321 in 2015. So far, 152 people have lost their lives this year.

Police Minister Judith Collins responded by blaming other contributors, including driving in unsafe conditions and men using mobile phones while driving for the increase in accidents. He said that drivers should follow rules for safety on roads.